With Kate now in the world, the move complete and Country Music Marathon a few weeks in the past, it's time to start slowly training for the Chicago Marathon on October 9th. After CMM, I took eight days completely off and got in a little over 30 miles last week. I would have preferred to take off at least two weeks and have a longer build-up but life is about dealing with the cards you're dealt.
I divide my marathon training into three phases: the base phase, the speed phase and the marathon specific phase. For the Rocket City Marathon, I had nearly an eight month build-up. That enabled me to take my time with each phase and slowly transition to the next one, while allowing time for some down weeks. This past spring, I didn't worry so much about my marathon but spent more time building up my "engine" and becoming more relaxed at 5:00ish mile pace. I didn't take much rest after Rocket City, jumped right into progression runs and tempos and raced a ton, while I barely raced at all during my Rocket City Training. That training wasn't ideal for racing a marathon but if I want to be able to have a shot at running 26.2 miles at 5:18 a mile, I needed to get a little more speed in my legs.
My base phase this time will last about six weeks. It will mainly include a lot of easier running, which will give my body a break, let me charge my batteries back up some and build a little bit of basic aerobic endurance. I will also include 6-8 mile "medium runs" (about 90% of marathon pace) and work up to 9-10 mile progression runs. My long runs will only max out at 15 miles but I'll still try to work up to around 100 miles a week by the end of the phase.
I'll also run weekly all-out 10 second hill sprints with a lot of recovery to help with my strength/power, muscle fiber recruitment and stroke volume.
To be honest, this is my least favorite phase. You start out feeling rusty, do a lot of easier running without much of a time/pace goal and don't get in any races. However, you can't always train hard and expect to run at your best. The body needs time to repair itself and build a foundation for the harder training to come.